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Rosmah: Investing In Children, First Step Towards Building Prosperous World | 17/04/2010
Untitled document NEW YORK, April 17 2010 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian prime minister's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor has called for the empowerment of children, saying investing in their future is the first step towards building a prosperous, peaceful and harmonious world.

"Children are our investment for the future. There should be a concerted effort to ensure there is a synergy among us so that children's voices are heard and their spaces protected," the prime minister's wife said.

Addressing the Women's International Forum's "First Ladies Speak" at the United Nations here, Rosmah, in her address titled "Investing in Children for a Better Tomorrow", stressed the importance of providing good education to children.

Well-educated children, she said, would likely to be healthier, more productive and better citizens, leading to fewer incidence of social ills such as drug abuse, unemployment or crime.

"They should be empowered to maximise their potentials as a productive human being," she added.

The Prime Minister's wife said that early investment in human capital would produce invaluable resources for a nation's economic, technological and societal development.

At the special convention chaired by forum president Datin Amy Hamidon, Rosmah was joined by Lorna Golding, the wife of Jamaica's prime minister.

Addressing the international audience, among them wives of diplomats and wives of representatives accredited to the United Nations, Rosmah stressed that although formal education was important, the first teachers must be the parents, not the schools.

"Since no matter how much education is being imparted formally, social ills can still occur if the family environment is dysfunctional," she said.

Rosmah, who is patron of Children in Hope Foundation Malaysia, said investing in children's education would have "a snowballing effect as it can make subsequent education much more effective, enhancing their school performance and reducing the need for repetition of grades."

This would contribute not only to the inculcation of values, ethics and roles, but also ultimately shape the nation's economic growth and social cohesion, she said.

"On the contrary, countries that neglect early education will eventually find themselves not only losing out but will struggle to move their economies forward and create progress in their societies," she said.

Rosmah, who is the Permata Negara Policy Executive Committee chairman, also shared Malaysia experience, particularly in running the Permata Negara programme.

The programme, which has a tagline of "Every Child Is Precious", emphasises on educating children below the age of four from underprivileged families in rural and among urban poor.

She also spoke on the need to prepare children to be global citizens and said that early sensitisation to multi cultural differences as well as engagement and interactions with others across the world through the ICT were critical to the appreciation, respect and ability to work in a diverse world.

"The optimisation of learning, however, should be a continuous process starting from early childhood education and care right up to the tertiary level," she said.

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